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Is there any program that offers free or low-cost senior dental care?

21 answers | Last updated: Aug 31, 2014
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Q
An anonymous caregiver asked...
Is there dental assistance for seniors?
 

Answers
Caring.com User - Joseph L.  Matthews
Caring.com Expert
A
Joseph L. Matthews is a Caring.com Expert, an attorney, and the author of Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It and...
73% helpful
answered...

Medicare, the largest program of health care for seniors, doesn't provide any dental care. Neither do Medicare Advantage managed care plans or Medigap private supplemental health insurance plans.
Medicaid See also:
7 Things Your Teeth Say About Your Health

See all 176 questions about Financial Assistance for Seniors
is the federal/state joint program of health care benefits for certain people, including seniors, who have low income and assets. It doesn't generally cover dental care, either. But a few state Medicaid programs provide some minimal dental care in certain counties. If you are enrolled in Medicaid, check with your local county social services office to see if any dental care is available to you through that program.

Another place to check is your county's dental association (the dentists' professional group). Some of these associations hold free dental clinics, or otherwise provide limited, low-cost dental care for low-income seniors. Also, if there is a school of dentistry – where new dentists are trained -- at a college or university near where you live, they may offer free or low-cost dental care at their clinic. Finally, check with local senior centers near where you live. They may have dentists who visit and provide free dental care, or they may provide a referral to dentists who offer low-cost care.

 

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60% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

Delta Dental USA has a plan. Only can go to the dentist that are on the list. But your co pays are low.

 

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jeis1121 answered...

Delta Dental is not available in all areas on its own, but is available for seniors through AARP. Even procedures such as oral surgery are covered at least 50%. Preventive care is 100%. A full chart of rates and what's covered is available through the AARP website.

 

53% helpful
GeriatricDental answered...

In Portland, Oregon and Federal Way, Washington (just south of Seattle) there is Geriatric Dental Group. Geriatric Dental Group is a not-for-profit organization that provides dental care to patients 55 years and older and wheelchair-bound patients of any age. Their fees are 20-50% lower then the area average and they offer long-term, interest-free payment plans and charitable contributions which make it possible for many of the elderly to obtain dental treatment that they could not afford elsewhere. They also offer in-home dentistry serving the non-ambulatory. They have been in business since 1974 and have many patients that travel two-three hours each way to reach their dental clinics. They are hoping to expand in the future. Perhaps there is something similar in your area already...

 

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jeis1121 answered...

If you check under the website for the ADA American Dental Associateon you will find sources. There is even one called Donated Dental which provides free of charge dental specifically to those who are disabled, low-income and in need of advanced dental care procedures. Those needing minor care are not eligible.

The challenge however, is that there are many on a waiting list. I signed a dear family member up a few months ago and recently checked the status, concerned to have heard nothing yet. What I learned is that there are others who have been waiting since 2007.

I am disheartened at this point, yet keep looking for assistance for my loved one. Transportation is huge issue for us as well. I am open to any other ideas that anyone may have. For the life of me I don't understand that in an era where very shortly (as of 2011) 10,000 individuals will turn 65 every single day, we are not prepared to address their dental concerns. People are living longer, and while that is a good thing, there is little quality of life when major dental issues steal the precious days remaining away from those we hold dear. A bill of some sort should be sent to Washington addressing this and providing dental care for all American seniors who have paid taxes throughout their life time and worked to make this country strong. Those who have given of themselves within their communities, to their country have no one now to care for them. The VA doesn't cover dental, Medicare doesn't cover dental, Medicaid doesn't cover dental... I simply don't understand why.

Jenny Eisenberg

 

53% helpful
cpeggy3 answered...

jeis1121,

I want to thank you for your post. This topic is very touchy for me. I am not a senior, I am 42 but on Medicare because I have a disability. Prior to this year I had medicade. I have been to a few low cost dentists in the area but they were unsanitary, the dentists barely spoke English and screwed my teeth up worse than when I went in. I am a dentist baby anyway, so you can imagine I am even more frightened than before. Not to mention I have a blood phobia...

I have not been able to eat solid food except pasta and soup for over a month now. I have been on antibiotics for two months. I have 4 broken teeth in my mouth and an infection which I am sure is going into my bone. I no longer have the medicaid, just medicare now. I have no idea what to do. I need to be put to sleep when I have dental work done and there is no one who will do that. It was hard enough to find a dentist before but it is impossible now. I do not want some person who does not speak English and follow my instructions working on my mouth ever again. Last time they cut my gums when I told her not to and my fillings fell out within a year of getting them.

I am rambling.. Anyway, I do not understand how we (American Government) can treat people in such a way. How is it that the low income, some of which are low income by no fault of their own, can get medical and prescriptions paid for but not dental and vision? Don't they know you can die from a tooth infection? That seems like medical to me! Why are we not doing anything? I am no longer able to eat the way I used to, I am in constant pain and I am so depressed it is not funny.

How is this possible in America? We have such advances in this country but yet many people are starving and cannot go to the doctor or dentist.

You also brought up another issue... Transportation. I just lost my car because of my lack of money since I am no longer working. I have no way to get anywhere. You need to have medicade to ride the hopelink, you have to be on a sign up and it takes months to get approved for Access service. If it is not one thing it is another!

That is the other problem, now that I am getting Medicare, after they take my premium out each month and I pay rent I have 23 dollars left each month. How is someone supposed to live on that let alone pay a dentist monthly?

 

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Climbing answered...

Dental care is essential for good health. America has profoundly failed it's people in this area in which there is no excuse. The richest nation in the world. A healthy mouth should be made accessible to everyone. If you can not afford care you get on a long waiting list. The work is done very slowly causing many unnecessary visits. Furthermore clinics for the poor are substandard and unsanitary with questionable practitioners. Sad!!!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

There is a great website out there that you can purchase a toothbrush plan for a year at a very reasonable price. You pay for the year and they ship a new toothbrush to you every 3 months. www.ToothbrushHub.com

A great preventative care for your oral health! Has anyone else been able to try this company out?

 

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75% helpful
A fellow caregiver answered...

To the person having problems with transportation and only have $23.00 left after premium taken out of SS. Please send your name, email address and the assistance you need , your , City, State & Zip code and we will help you get the assistance you need. Send information to [email removed]

 

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ToothTeller answered...

There are a number of dental insurance and discount dental plans that provide inexpensive care to seniors, including many Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMO's) whose monthly premiums are less than two senior tickets and popcorn at the local theater. These plans have no waiting periods, no annual limits and most preventive services are free or at nominal charge. Some plans cover cosmetic services like implants and teeth whitening. See for yourself what is available in your area by using our instant quote feature at http://dentalinsurancestore.com/free-quote. Our quote service is free and all plan benefits are available online for your convenience.

 

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geemac answered...

HI, C_peggy 3 42 yr old, I pray U get the help needed from thepersone who volunteered. I am 68yrs, no dentla, on SS benefits of $814. a month. Luckily a couple of months ago I found out i qualified for food stamps ( about $35 a week, not much, but more that i had b4). I also had to give up my car a couple of yrs ago because I could no longer afford to keep it it was a 1990, get old and needed repairs, It stinks living this way.l Just got both of my hip totally replaced at the same time March 8, 2012, still waiting for my balance to come back and muscle strength, takes up to 12-18 months to get back to normal.

I have bearly enuff to live on after paying for phone, internet, storage ( I am going thru my storage next month and just going to throw a lot of things away and go to a much smaller unit, am paying 181.00 a month..insane).

I have 3 broken teeth, and really bad caviaties in most of my teeth, have not been to adentist since aourn 1996..just no money to do so. What I am doing is taking Vitamin C powder ( ascorbic acid) and L-lysine powder ( up to 1 level teaspoon a day) it fights off infections and helps to build the bone and blood vessels..just started taking it out of desperation.

Also am brushing my teeth with soap and 1-2 drops of Oregano oil, it has a strong taste, I scrub my teeth for about 1-3 minuets and my tongue than rinse. Doing this stopped really BAD pain in a tooth that has to be eventually extracted..So this is how I live my life staying away from the infection and more decay.

I need several root canals, some extractions and broken teeth repaired..no way to pay for it..I pray the broken teeth just stay and do not break anymore.

I am starting a juice feast ( drinking only juices ..veggies and fruit..that I make with my juicer. I am staying on all raw/whole live uncooked fruits and veggies, loads of greens ) to keep my health as perfect as I can, lose 50#'s, & pray this will help my teeth, and my healing process for my hips and legs..and just pray I can find a dentist who will not want to rip all my teeth out..and maybe I can find a job, where I can take use my bicycle, one I get my balance back.

I never thought in a million yrs taht I would b in such a crappy position.

By the way medicaid and Managed Care programs in Illinois stopped ALL dental care EXCEPT Emergency extractions....They just started this August 1st/2012 good old government.. I bet they have good dental care till they die....using our tax dollars.

Anyway I do not know the answetr except check your county health department and the suggestions by the writer of this colume. I love U all and pray for all of us...

 

75% helpful
dowens67 answered...

You should be able to call 211 from your phone and they have listings of low cost or free dental clinics listed by county and can give you some details on qualification. I called and was provided about 10 places. The easiest one was our county hospital, since it is oral surgery they are doing all extractions and bone grafts for a $5 co-pay, not per tooth, total. The only problem is they will not pay for any restoration, no implants, bridges or dentures. There are private dental plans that you can purchase that will pay for a large portion of the dentures, With Delta Dental in my area the total cost of the insurance is $165 for a year and you can get complete dentures top and bottom for less than $500. Careington 500 is another plan that covers dentures and the cost of the insurance is $6.95 per month. These are all prices in my area, so it will vary by county and state.

 

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mcart20 answered...

The Geriatric Dental Group who answered above is not taking new patients. They were most unhelpful on the phone and should remove their "answer".

 

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ToothFairyMobileDent answered...

Tooth Fairy Mobile Dental Service provides on-site comprehensive dental care for residence of assisted living facilities. Our goal to continue providing the best possible dental services and education to each patient in the comfort of their own residence or facility.

A patient, caring approach to the oral health of the elderly of the elderly is the Tooth Fairy Mobile's sole mission. using state-of-the-art equipment and gentle care, we help our patients maintain optimum oral health for daily living.

Tooth Fairy Mobile provides comprehensive dental care to the elderly in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties with a team of dentists, dental hygienists and a dedicated support staff.

Because daily dental care for the elderly or those in assisted living poses unique challenges. We offer assessment and detailed programs for care that contribute to improved quality of life and healthier, happier patients.

For more information visit our website at www.toothfairymobile.com or cal 305-760-2740.

 

any name answered...

For people in CA nursing homes receiving long term care and are on Medi-Cal (Medicaid) - you can use your share of cost to pay for doctor/dentist prescribed dental work under the Johnson v Rank decision. Read about it at this link: http://www.canhr.org/factsheets/medi-cal_fs/html/fs_medcal_overview.htm

 

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75% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

http://nfdh.org/donated-dental-services-dds/state-dds-programs

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I am a dentist starting out on my own and i can relate to all the problems you have. Finding a low cost clinic a city/county or voluntary services is a better option. Don't ever sign up for discounted plans or the DMO plans----They are plans insurance companies created to scam consumers and doctors. An AARP plan is lot better. we as dentists have been advocating for government to cover basic dental services that will help patients out of pain. with new health reform i don't think this is possible. I have been spending a lot of time researching options to close this gap and help this aging population. how to establish a dental support system for longterm care facilities? i am finding Dentistry an expensive buisiness to operate and without some form of government support it will be very hard

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Humana Actually sells individual dental and vision plans that are very low cost depending on the state. These are not medicare products they are for any individual. Call 1-877-256-1640 ext 1125989

 

tiered answered...

All of you wonderful people are so right. I have lived with a broken tooth and the root is still in the gum, just waiting to infect my body. I'm disabled with some major health problems. I have manage well to control my life, a major tooth infection might cost me my life. Where can we start to bring this to someone attention. I'm going to start making calls in Washington, then I want know if the news can help figure this out. Enough is Enough. I'm done with this nonsense of no help. You all please stay Blessed.

 

 
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